Juventus president Andrea Agnelli still insists Super League attempt ‘was not a failure’

It was almost a full year ago when twelve European clubs made the sudden announcement that they’d be forming a new Super League, an alternative competition to the current European soccer system controlled by UEFA. The initial announcement of the project was released simultaneously by 12 of Europe’s biggest clubs before being heavily criticized by fans, coaches, players, and both FIFA and UEFA. In less than 72 hours the six Premier League clubs involved (Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool) all withdrew from the competition. 

Other clubs followed them, such as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid. Only Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona never really explicitly gave up on the competition with their presidents being much more involved in the creation of the Super League. That was the beginning of a long debate between leagues, federations, and clubs about the current European soccer system. As per Juventus president Andrea Agnelli and Real Madrid’s owner Florentino Perez a “change is needed,” and one year later their position hasn’t changed. 

On Thursday Agnelli spoke at the FT Business of Football summit in London, and said: “To me it is not a failure. We have been hearing projects of potential breakaway leagues ever since I was a teenager. Last year was the first time that not one, not two, not three, but 12 clubs made a very important statement that was a profound alarm to the system. Any promoter should be allowed, in a free environment, to promote a product and then if people are qualified, invited, they can freely decide without being told no by a monopolistic operator, and the only gatekeeper for the industry”. 

Agnelli also said that “these 12 clubs have signed a 120 pages contract and it is still binding for 11 of them”. As Spanish journalist Arancha Rodríguez has reported, the club that decided to officially leave the project is Italian side Inter Milan. Club sources have not yet confirmed that fact and it’s not clear whether the club will speak openly about it in the next days. There have also been rumors in the last days about a possible announcement from the Super League clubs being prepared for a new and changed format from the one proposed last year, a more open competition that would be accessible to more clubs in the future. 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, speaking at the same conference as Angelli did not take kindly to the idea. “I’m sick and tired of speaking of this non-football project, he said. “Look, first, they launched their nonsense of the idea in the middle of a pandemic. Now we are reading articles every day that they are planning to launch another idea now in the middle of war. Do I have to speak more about those people? They obviously live in the parallel world.”

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